College World Series: A closer look

The 2018 NCAA Gainesville Regional/Super Regional champion Florida Gators. [Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]
By Eric Olson, AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. — A capsule look at the eight teams competing in the College World Series, which starts Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. (Capsules in order of CWS opening games. Coaches’ records through super regionals):NORTH CAROLINA (43-18)Coach: Mike Fox (889-377-1, 20 years at North Carolina; 1,425-518-5, 35 years overall).

Road to Omaha: Won Chapel Hill regional: beat North Carolina A&T 11-0, beat Houston 4-3, beat Houston 19-11. Won Chapel Hill super regional: beat Stetson 7-4, beat Stetson 7-5.

2018 record vs. CWS teams: 0-0.

Last CWS appearance: 2013.

All-time record in CWS: 17-21 in 10 appearances.

Meet the Tar Heels: C Brandon Martorano (.247, 9 HRs, 36 RBIs), 1B Michael Busch (.333, 13, 63), 2B Zack Gahagan (.274, 7, 40), 3B Kyle Datres (.344, 6, 34), SS Ike Freeman (.295, 3, 50), LF Ashton McGee (.246, 2, 26), CF Brandon Riley (.294, 5, 52), RF Cody Roberts (.276, 5, 39), DH Jackson Hesterlee (.321, 1, 10). Starting pitchers: RHP Cooper Criswell (6-2, 2.82 ERA), RHP Gianluca Dalatri (2-2, 3.08), RHP Austin Bergner (7-2, 4.28). Relievers: LHP Caden O’Brien (6-0, 2.14), RHP Brett Daniels (6-0, 2.74), RHP Josh Hiatt (3-2, 2.94, 6 saves), RHP Rodney Hutchison Jr. (3-3, 4.63), RHP Tyler Baum (4-1, 4.55 ERA), RHP Joey Lancellotti (3-3, 3.62), RHP Taylor Sugg (2-1, 5.40).

MLB Alumni: Tim Federowicz, Matt Harvey, Chris Iannetta, Andrew Miller, Colin Moran, Mike Morin, Kyle Seager, Jacob Stallings, Adam Warren.

Short hops: No. 6 national seed Tar Heels are batting .343 and averaging 9.6 runs per game in the NCAA Tournament. … Seventh CWS appearance in 13 seasons. … Fox was a second baseman on the UNC team that went to the CWS in 1978. … Dalatri, who came into the season as staff ace, was out 12 weeks with an elbow injury.

Quotable: “They’ll get to experience something that’s going to be a lifetime memory for them. Our coaching staff, trainers, equipment manager and operations people, they’ve all been there, but none of these kids have. They have no idea what they’re getting ready to experience.” — Fox.

OREGON STATE (49-10-1)

Coach: Pat Casey (894-456-6, 24 years at Oregon State; 1,067-565-7, 31 years overall).

Road to Omaha: Won Corvallis regional: beat Northwestern State 9-3, beat LSU 14-1, beat LSU 12-0. Won Corvallis super regional: beat Minnesota 8-1, beat Minnesota 6-3.

2018 record vs. CWS teams: 2-1.

Last CWS appearance: 2017.

All-time record in CWS: 15-10 in 6 appearances, national champion 2006, 2007.

Meet the Beavers: C Adley Rutschman (.386, 7 HRs, 70 RBIs), 1B Zak Taylor (.273, 2, 19), 2B Nick Madrigal (.397, 3, 32), 3B Michael Gretler (.316, 7, 44), SS Cadyn Grenier (.322, 5, 44), LF Jack Anderson (.267, 0, 11), CF Steven Kwan (.357, 2, 41), RF Trevor Larnach (.336, 18, 68), DH Kyle Nobach (.303, 5, 26). Starting pitchers: LHP Luke Heimlich (16-1, 2.32 ERA), RHP Bryce Fehmel (10-1, 2.87), RHP Kevin Abel (4-1, 3.58). Relievers: LHP Christian Chamberlain (3-0, 3.77), RHP Sam Tweedt (1-0, 7.71), LHP Brandon Eisert (4-3, 2.74), RHP Grant Gambrell (5-1, 4.40), RHP Dylan Pearce (2-0, 3.62), LHP Jake Mulholland (1-2, 2.37, 15 saves).

MLB Alumni: Michael Conforto, Jacoby Ellsbury, Darwin Barney, Daniel Robertson, Josh Osich, Sam Gaviglio, Matt Boyd.

Short Hops: Beavers are No. 3 national seed. … Heimlich, at 16-1, leads the nation in wins and is third in strikeouts (151). He sat out super regionals and CWS last year when The Oregonian newspaper reported he pleaded guilty to child molestation as a minor. In recent interviews with Sports Illustrated and The New York Times, Heimlich denied wrongdoing. … Beavers’ .320 batting average is highest in CWS field. … Madrigal (.397) leads seven regular starters batting higher than .300. … Beavers had six players taken in first 10 rounds of the draft, led by Madrigal (fourth overall by White Sox), Larnach (20th by Twins) and Grenier (37th by Orioles).

Quotable: “Our club, I have unbelievable trust in what they’re doing.” — Casey.


Coach: Lindsay Meggs (265-237-1, 9 seasons at Washington; 880-544-5, 25 seasons overall).

Road to Omaha: Won Conway regional: beat UConn 7-1, beat Coastal Carolina 11-6, beat UConn 9-6. Won Fullerton super regional: beat Cal State Fullerton 8-5, lost to Cal State Fullerton 5-2, beat Cal State Fullerton 6-5 in 10 innings.

2018 record vs. CWS teams: 1-2.

Last CWS appearance: None.

All-time record in CWS: 0-0.

Meet the Huskies: C Nick Kahle (.293, 6 HRs, 35 RBIs), 1B Jonathan Schiffer (.238, 1, 20), 2B AJ Graffanino (.373, 0, 19), 3B Willie MacIver (.243, 3, 24), SS Levi Jordan (.302, 8, 42), LF Mason Cerrillo (.335, 0, 21), CF Braiden Ward (.309, 0, 14), RF Christian Jones (.269, 2, 13), DH Joe Wainhouse (.312, 19, 59). Starting pitchers: RHP Joe DeMers (7-3, 2.56 ERA), LHP Lucas Knowles (6-5, 3.89), RHP Jordan Jones (6-4, 3.99). Relievers: RHP Steve Emanuels (8-2, 4.26), RHP Josh Burgmann (2-2, 2.90), RHP Alex Hardy (5-2, 2.14, 8 saves), LHP Jack DeCooman (0-1, 3.63), RHP Dylan Lamb (1-0, 3.95), LHP Chris Micheles (0-2, 9.25).

MLB Alumni: Mike Blowers, Rondin Johnson, Jake Lamb, Brent Lillibridge, Tim Lincecum, Chris Magruder, Kevin Stocker.

Short hops: Huskies were 18-18 after a loss to UT Rio Grande Valley and are 17-6 since. … Wainhouse has five home runs in last six games. … Graffanino is the team’s highest draft pick, going in the eighth round to Atlanta. … DeMers pitched a perfect game against UC Riverside in February and is the first Washington pitcher to throw two shutouts in a season since 2011. … Graffanino and Wainhouse are sons of former major leaguers Tony Graffanino and Dave Wainhouse. … Huskies were picked seventh in preseason Pac-12 coaches poll.

Quotable: “I’m thrilled for our guys. I’m thrilled for the University of Washington. It’s been a long time coming.” — Meggs.


Coach: Gary Henderson (37-23, 1 season at Mississippi State; 297-222, 9 seasons overall).

Road to Omaha: Won Tallahassee regional: lost to Oklahoma 20-10, beat Florida State 3-2, beat Samford 9-8, beat Oklahoma 13-5, beat Oklahoma 8-1. Won Nashville super regional: beat Vanderbilt 10-8, lost to Vanderbilt 4-3, beat Vanderbilt 10-6 in 11 innings.

2018 record vs. CWS teams: 6-0.

Last CWS appearance: 2013.

All-time record in CWS: 10-18 in 9 appearances.

Meet the Bulldogs: C Dustin Skelton (.248, 1 HR, 13 RBIs), 1B Tanner Allen (.298, 5, 44), 2B Hunter Stovall (.319, 2, 39), 3B Justin Foscue (.256, 3, 20), SS Luke Alexander (.213, 6, 46), LF Rowdey Jordan (.333, 7, 35), CF Jake Mangum (.353, 3, 33), RF Elijah MacNamee (.318, 8, 42), DH Jordan Westburg (.250, 1, 23). Starting pitchers: LHP Ethan Small (5-3, 3.11 ERA), LHP Konnor Pilkington (2-6, 4.56), RHP Jacob Billingsley (5-3, 4.92). Reliever: RHP JP France (5-5, 3.84), RHP Cole Gordon (4-3, 4.86, 3 saves), RHP Blake Smith (4-0, 3.00, 3 saves), RHP Riley Self (5-0, 3.51), RHP Keegan James (1-2, 4.50), LHP Zach Neff (3-3, 3.57), RHP Denver McQuary (2-2, 4.97).

MLB Alumni: Jeff Brantley, Will Clark, Sammy Ellis, Adam Frazier, Kendall Graveman, Jonathan Holder, Paul Maholm, Tyler Moore, Mitch Moreland, Rafael Palmeiro, Jonathan Papelbon, Hunter Renfroe, Buck Showalter, Chris Stratton, Bobby Thigpen, Del Unser.

Short hops: Henderson took over as interim head coach after Andy Cannizaro resigned for off-field conduct on Feb. 20. … Swept CWS teams Arkansas and Florida in the regular season. … Bulldogs have staved off elimination five times. … MacNamee hit walk-off homers against Florida State in regional and Vanderbilt in super regional. … MacNamee has eight home runs for the season, five in the last eight games. … Pilkington (81st overall to White Sox) is the highest of seven draft picks. … Gordon has struck out 20 in his last 13 innings.

Quotable: “It’s the best story of the year in college baseball, that’s for sure. To be where we are now after where we were after the first weekend — 14-15, 2-7 and all the numbers you’ve already heard — I couldn’t be more proud of being head coach at Mississippi State.” — Henderson.

TEXAS (42-21)

Coach: David Pierce (81-46, 2 seasons at Texas; 278-154, 7 seasons overall).

Road to Omaha: Won Austin regional: beat Texas Southern 10-0, beat Texas A&M 8-3, beat Indiana 3-2. Won Austin super regional: lost to Tennessee Tech 5-4, beat Tennessee Tech 4-2, beat Tennessee Tech 5-2.

2018 record vs. CWS teams: 2-3.

Last CWS appearance: 2014.

All-time record in CWS: 85-59 in 35 appearances; national champion 1949, 1950, 1975, 1983, 2002, 2005.

Meet the Longhorns: C DJ Petrinsky (.261, 9 HRs, 28 RBIs), 1B Jake McKenzie (.246, 0, 14), 2B Kody Clemens (.356, 24, 72), 3B Ryan Reynolds (.252, 4, 36), SS David Hamilton (.294, 5, 36), LF Masen Hibbeler (.256, 4, 30), CF Tate Shaw (.245, 0, 22), RF Duke Ellis (.297, 1, 27), DH Zach Zubia (.277, 11, 44). Starting pitchers: RHP Nolan Kingham (8-4, 4.34 ERA), RHP Chase Shugart (6-3, 4.07), RHP Blair Henley (6-6, 3.32). Relievers: RHP Kamron Fields (1-0, 1.88), LHP Josh Sawyer (1-0, 3.52), RHP Parker Joe Robinson (3-0, 1.17), RHP Andy McGuire (1-2, 2.01, 7 saves), RHP Matteo Bocchi (4-1, 3.13)

MLB Alumni: Burt Hooton, David Chalk, Keith Moreland, Ron Gardenhire, Spike Owen, Roger Clemens, Calvin Schiraldi, Greg Swindell, Shane Reynolds, Brooks Kieschnick, Huston Street, J.P. Howell, Brandon Belt.

Short hops: The No. 13 seed Longhorns will be making their 36th appearance, 11 more than the next closest team (Miami). … Their 85 CWS wins are 11 more than Southern California’s 74. … Clemens, the Big 12 player of the year and son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, has hit five home runs and driven in 11 runs in the NCAA Tournament. … Every recruiting class signed by the late Augie Garrido has made at least one trip to the CWS. Garrido, who stepped down in 2016 after coaching Texas for 20 seasons, was the all-time NCAA wins leader until Florida State’s Mike Martin passed him in May. Garrido died in March.

Quotable: “This is definitely what my class and the class above me have been working for. Omaha is the goal.” — Kody Clemens.

ARKANSAS (44-19)

Coach: Dave Van Horn (639-362, 16 seasons at Arkansas; 1,224-602, 30 seasons overall).

Road to Omaha: Won Fayetteville regional: beat Oral Roberts 10-2, beat Southern Mississippi 10-2, beat Dallas Baptist 4-3. Won Fayetteville super regional: beat South Carolina 9-3, lost to South Carolina 8-5, beat South Carolina 14-4.

2018 record vs. CWS teams: 5-5.

Last CWS appearance: 2015.

All-time record in CWS: 11-16 in 8 appearances.

Meet the Razorbacks: C Grant Koch (.251, 7 HRs, 34 RBIs), 1B Jared Gates (.236, 5, 22), 2B Carson Shaddy (.341, 13, 52), 3B Casey Martin (.344, 13, 46), SS Jax Biggers (.287, 4, 24), LF Heston Kjerstad (.340, 14, 54), CF Dominic Fletcher (.282, 8, 41), RF Eric Cole (.329, 14, 50), DH Luke Bonfield (.307, 8, 39). Starting pitchers: RHP Blaine Knight (12-0, 2.84 ERA), LHP Kacey Murphy (8-5, 3.12), RHP Isaiah Campbell (4-6, 4.19). Relievers: RHP Barrett Loseke (3-2, 3.15), RHP Jake Reindl (3-1, 2.96), LHP Matt Cronin (2-1, 2.98, 12 saves), RHP Caleb Bolden (3-0, 4.40), RHP Bryce Bonnin (1-0, 4.34), LHP Evan Lee (4-3, 5.00), RHP Cody Scroggins (0-0, 4.85).

MLB Alumni: Andrew Benintendi, Dallas Keuchel, Darrel Akerfelds, Craig Gentry, Logan Forsythe, Eric Hinske, Randy Jackson, Jeff King, Les Lancaster, Cliff Lee, Tim Lollar, Kevin McReynolds, Tom Pagnozzi, Robert Person, Johnny Ray, Drew Smyly.

Short hops: No. 5 seed Hogs’ 94 home runs are fourth nationally and second among CWS teams behind Florida’s 96. … Four players (Martin, Shaddy, Kjerstad, Cole) have 13 or more homers. … Knight (87th overall to Orioles), Cole (122nd to Royals) and Koch (144th to Pirates) were taken in first five rounds of draft. … Cronin needs two saves to break school season record of 13 held by volunteer assistant Colby Suggs.

Quotable: “It is just pure excitement now. I think we have handled the expectations well. This is a really talented team and we know how good we are. We like the expectation because it makes us play better. I’m so happy for my brothers and excited everything is getting to experience this like I did my freshman year.” — Shaddy.

TEXAS TECH (44-18)

Coach: Tim Tadlock (238-130, 6 seasons at Texas Tech; 673-256, 20 seasons overall).

Road to Omaha: Won Lubbock regional: beat New Mexico State 9-2, beat Louisville 10-4, beat Louisville 11-6. Won Lubbock super regional: beat Duke 6-4, lost to Duke 11-2, beat Duke 6-2.

2018 record vs. CWS teams: 1-3.

Last CWS appearance: 2016.

All-time record in CWS: 1-4 in 2 appearances.

Meet the Red Raiders: C Braxton Fulford (.192, 1 HR, 4 RBIs), 1B Cameron Warren (.327, 10, 53), 2B Brian Klein (.323, 4, 31), 3B Josh Jung (.390, 12, 78), SS Michael Davis (.288, 12, 52), LF Grant Little (.272, 12, 73), CF Cody Farhat (.294, 5, 37), RF Gabe Holt (.352, 6, 41), DH Zach Reams (.348, 17, 54). Starting pitchers: LHP Dylan Dusek (3-0, 2.03), RHP Caleb Kilian (9-2, 3.04), RHP Davis Martin (7-5, 4.50). Relievers: RHP Ryan Shetter (5-0, 3.03), RHP Connor Queen (1-0, 4.25), RHP Ryan Sublette (0-3, 9.49), RHP Ty Harpenau (7-2, 3.38), RHP Jose Quezada (5-2, 2.16), RHP John McMillon (5-3, 4.01), RHP Kurt Wilson (1-0, 8.76).

MLB Alumni: Dallas Braden, Doug Ault, Mark Brandenburg, Keith Ginter, Travis Driskill, Joe Dillon, Chris Sampson, Jeff Karstens, AJ Ramos, Chad Bettis, Daniel Coulombe.

Short hops: Third CWS appearance in five seasons for No. 13 seed Red Raiders. … Jung (.390) comes in with top batting average among CWS players. .. Highest-scoring (8.3 rpg) and top slugging team (.512) in field. … Allowing 3.74 walks per nine innings in NCAA Tournament, down from 5.57 through May 27. … Little (74th overall by Padres) is program’s highest draft pick since 2012. … Red Raiders’ 14-0 start was best in program history, and they set school record with 37-inning shutout streak in February.

Quotable: “Those first two teams were special, too. What I’m really excited about is, there’s a good part of the country that’s going to get to see some of these guys play. They deserve that. There’s some good players there.” — Tadlock, on going to his third CWS.

FLORIDA (47-19)

Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan (495-227, 11 seasons at Florida and overall).

Road to Omaha: Won Gainesville regional: beat Columbia 13-5, beat Jacksonville 3-2, lost to Florida Atlantic 7-4, beat Florida Atlantic 5-2. Won Gainesville super regional: beat Auburn 8-2, lost to Auburn 3-2, beat Auburn 3-2 in 11 innings.

2018 record vs. CWS teams: 2-5.

Last CWS appearance: 2017.

All-time record in CWS: 19-22 in 11 appearances; national champion 2017.

Meet the Gators: C Jonah Girand (.161, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs), 1B Brady Smith (.259, 2, 13) or Keenan Bell (.224, 6, 27), 2B Blake Reese (.247, 5, 43), 3B Jonathan India (.354, 20, 48), SS Deacon Liput (.291, 9, 37), LF Austin Langworthy (.294, 4, 28), CF Nick Horvath (.270, 6, 33), RF Wil Dalton (.266, 19, 60), DH Nelson Maldonado (.278, 8, 40). Starting pitchers: RHP Brady Singer (12-1, 2.30 ERA), RHP Jackson Kowar (9-5, 3.24), RHP Jack Leftwich (4-5, 4.32). Relievers: RHP Tommy Mace (5-0, 4.45), LHP Jordan Butler (6-2, 4.11), LHP Andrew Baker (2-0, 4.59), RHP Kirby McMullen (0-0, 2.25), RHP Hunter McMullen (0-0, 3.68), RHP Tyler Dyson (5-3, 4.47), RHP Michael Byrne (3-1, 1.59, 15 saves).

MLB Alumni: Mike Zunino, David Eckstein, Mark Ellis, Darren O’Day, David Ross, Anthony DeSclafani, Austin Maddox, Bobby Poyner, Brian Johnson, Harrison Bader, Preston Tucker, Matt LaPorta, Mike Stanley, Brad Wilkerson.

Short hops: This is No. 1 seed Gators’ seventh CWS appearance since 2010, all under O’Sullivan. … Team has three of the top 33 draft picks in India (No. 5 to Reds), Singer (No. 18 to Royals) and Kowar (No. 33 to Royals). … Florida has hit 15 homers in seven games and have 96 for the season, most of the remaining teams. … Girand, filling in for the injured JJ Schwarz, homered three times and drove in five runs in regionals but went 0 for 11 with eight strikeouts in super regionals.

Quotable: “If you go back and look, he’s been swinging the bat very well the last three weeks or so. He’s got a lot of natural hit to him.” — O’Sullivan, on Langworthy hitting his third and fourth homers of the season in the last two games, including walk-off shot in 11th inning against Auburn on Monday.


  1. “Meet the Beavers” Well I for one have never met a beaver I didn’t like. I know, that was childish but I couldn’t resist.

    The team that worries me the most is MSU for obvious reasons. Fortunately they are in the opposite bracket (for now). I think we need to play A+ ball to keep moving. Pitching has been good. Just need to elevate the batting. No more leaving RISP.

    • David, I understand what you are saying about MSU, but should the Gators play well enough to meet them in the Finals, I believe the law of averages alone will come into play in addition to the matchup being in Omaha and not Starkville. Also, my wife, though a UF grad as well as me, lived in Mississippi and spent her freshman year at MSU. I vow to hide that damn cow bell that she has and make her root for the Gators (which she always does anyway!) Anyway it works out, I am proud of this group of young men. Go Gators.

  2. Never would ask a player to play when they are not ready but it would be good if JJ is ready to play. Girand hit the ball well in the regional but was terrible in the super regional. He was not seeing the ball well at all and cost them a run versus Auburn due to a pass ball. If JJ cannot play and he must play Girand, maybe Sully should play Maldonado in right field and dh Dalton for Girand. Thay way he gets another good batter in the lineup. Otherwise he may need to give Brady Smith or Greenfield a shot behind the plate. Sully knows best though.

  3. I believe the Gators are over their end of regular season slump. While it is fantastic for the Gators to return to the CWS again this year, they must not dwell on past victories, and must stay focused on each game going forward. The Gators are playing the best of the best, and if they play their best, they should win out. GO GATORS!!!